Pittsburgh Web Design
I am a Web Designer and Webmaster based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have been building websites since the turn of the century, and currently specialize in content management system design and integration. Most of my projects are built using Drupal and WordPress as both are fantastic platforms. Each CMS provides exceptional tools to help maintain and manage the information you present to your visitors.
My experience began when web design practices consisted of slicing PSD files in Adobe Photoshop for table based layouts (i.e. "old-school"). These were typically viewed at the "standard" 1024x768 resolution on CRT monitors (remember those?). CSS was just starting to take hold and we generally designed for 760px wide presentations while trying to keep home page content "above the fold". Technology and design trends have changed dramatically since then.
Today I assist clients throughout the entire development process including project planning, front-end design, back-end development, SEO, as well as content development, multimedia integration, website maintenance and web hosting. I also provide consultation, technical assistance and support for existing platforms. I adore what I do.
It's Tiny. Today we have much more screen real estate.
Why Use WordPress?
There are many benefits to using traditional HTML pages when building a website including security and the ability to customize everything — this site is built in this fashion. However, relying on HTML pages alone can also increase the effort that is required to manage and maintain a website. In addition, static HTML pages do not provide the dynamic functionality that is available with modern CMS platforms. Enter WordPress.
My first experience with WordPress took place when my previous company began using version 2.x for their blogging platform. I had previously worked with osCommerce so I was familiar with the benefits (and time savings) of implementing a dynamic, PHP/MYSQL driven website application. However, at that time the popularity of Content Managment Systems used for the "main" website was in its infancy. Most of my clients integrated dynamic features like storefronts, discussion forums, blogs, chat rooms, etc. as an additional component to their main, HTML based website.
One of the main "issues" with HTML based websites is that they require coding experience in order to design, build and maintain the overall web presence. With WordPress, this focus shifts to content integration using visual tools for updating information and integrating dynamic capabilities. With WordPress, clients are able to focus on the management of their content rather than the obstacle of updating website code to present their updated "message". WordPress excels as an efficient platform to manage pages, articles and any type of information offered to visitors.
WordPress is the most popular CMS available, with over 30% of all websites built using this platform. WordPress users have access to thousands of plugins that provide a advanced features and functionality including E-commerce, contact and survey forms, calendar and event integration, community forums, native audio/video integration, newsletter sign-ups and more. With the default Gutenberg editor, WordPress has taken a huge step in providing an integrated, fully customizable, page building experience.
WordPress excels at ease-of-use, automated SEO, and provides both non-profit and for-profit businesses and organizations a stable platform to build with. WordPress is open source software that does not lock users into continual licensing fees (*some 3rd party plugins do require payment).
Due to its overall popularity, WordPress is targeted more often by hacking attempts than other CMS platforms. However, with the appropriate steps, WordPress can be configured to be a secure, stable, and highly efficient content management system.
WordPress can be used for projects ranging from small, brochure websites, to advanced websites that provide a variety of features and functionality.
WordPress provides full search integration, native blogging capability, content categorization, and much more. One of the best features is the ability to create and customize client-specific "Post types" (article types, bios, unique pages etc.). Using 3rd party plugins, WordPress users can fully customize specific Post types to include unique data fields (copy, images, video, audio, files etc.), as well as how, when, and where they will be displayed. With the Gutenberg editor, WordPress provides the ability to fully customize the "look and feel" of any pages and posts.
View some before and after web design projects to learn more.
Why Use Drupal?
I started working with Drupal 4.x when I was subcontracted for a project that required adding, editing and maintaining content for a client intranet. At the time I was using WordPress for most of my CMS projects, but needed something with more advanced user management features. Enter Drupal.
At the beginning of the project I literally left town to "hole up" in the mountains for a week where I ate, drank and slept Drupal. I quickly learned the extensive capabilities of the platform, and soon thereafter it became part of my main toolkit.
Drupal can be designed to do "almost" everything. It it excels as a community based platform with its customizable system of user rights management. Drupal's user "role" capability allows for controlling access privileges to website information similar to a file server within a typical office environment. This provides the ability to integrate Drupal simultaneously as a public facing website, as well as a private, role-based staff portal.
Drupal has hundreds of modules that provide greater value to website visitors including information request forms, surveys, blogging, forums, calendars, audio/video integration, community groups, newsletter sign-ups and an integrated help system.
As a website framework, Drupal can increase visitor retention, encourage repeat traffic, and is a highly effective platform for websites that have a variety of user groups accessing a variety of information. For this reason Drupal is an excellent platform for both non-profit and for-profit businesses and organizations. Another important point to mention — Drupal is not a proprietary system that locks you in to licensing fees. Drupal is open source software that is free to own. Drupal is also targeted less by hacking attempts than other popular CMS platforms. Drupal is a mature, stable, secure content management system.
Drupal can be used for projects ranging from small scale websites, to advanced website applications that provide a variety of features and services.
Drupal offers full search integration, automated search engine optimization, provides RSS feed capability allowing visitors to subscribe to client information — and much more. One of the best features is the ability to create and customize client-specific "content types" (articles, bios, pages, user pages etc.) that can include unique data fields (copy, images, video, audio, files etc.). These can then be displayed through a variety of ways using Views. Drupal provides the ability to fully customize specific content types as well as how, when, and where they will be displayed. Drupal also provides the ability to fully customize the "look and feel" of almost everything.
See some before and after web design projects to learn more.